5 Tips for Setting-Up New Scouts to Successfully Earn Their First Rank
Until the introduction of the Lions program in the last several years, the Bobcat Rank was the very first rank your Scout could earn in the Cub Scouting program. Introduced in 1938, the “Bob Cat pin” was intended to serve as an entry-level badge for a new Cub, and has been worn with pride ever since. Now presented as a small diamond-shaped cloth patch to be worn on their uniform, Scouts are required to earn this rank before achieving any subsequent ranks except, of course, for Lions.
Lions, don’t fret! You’ll prepare for your Bobcat by working on “Lion’s Honor,” a fun beltloop that teaches you just about everything you’ll need to know when you graduate into your Tiger den.
New Tigers can start working on Bobcat right away, and if they participated as Lions in their kindergarten year, they’ll have a leg up on newly recruited Scouts. Here’s what you need to do to earn your Bobcat Rank:
- Learn and say the Scout Oath, with help if needed.
- Learn and say the Scout Law, with help if needed.
- Show the Cub Scout sign. Tell what it means.
- Show the Cub Scout handshake. Tell what it means.
- Say the Cub Scout motto. Tell what it means.
- Show the Cub Scout salute. Tell what it means.
- With your parent or guardian, complete the exercises in the pamphlet How to Protect Your Children From Child Abuse: A Parent’s Guide- Bobcat Requirements
For a new leader, helping your Scouts to earn Bobcat can feel pretty overwhelming. You’re working on rank requirements in that one hour long den meeting and can’t always squeeze in time that’s dedicated purely to completing the aforementioned requirements. I have some tips to help you make it fun.
There is no teaching to compare with example.
– Lord Robert Baden-Powell
Lead by example! Baden-Powell mentions time and again how critical it is for us as leaders to teach our Scouts by doing. By utilizing the EDGE Method, you’ll have your Scouts wearing their new patch in no time. What’s EDGE, you ask?
Start each meeting with an opening ceremony. The Pledge of Allegiance is a great way to help younger Scouts feel more confident in reciting the Oath and Law along with their peers. Follow your Pledge with the Scout Oath. “On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country, and to obey the Scout Law. To help other people at all times, and to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.” Break the Oath down in small, easy to remember pieces so they can repeat after you without getting lost. Next the Scout Law. “A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.” Say each Point of the Scout Law and allow your den time to repeat it after you before moving on.
Don’t sweat it if you, too, are having a tough time memorizing the Scout Law. Everyone does at first! It helped me to print out all 12 Points of the Scout Law and cut them into a long strip that I taped to the bottom of my computer screen. Seeing it split into groups of four helped me learn it in no time.
My first year, I had 15 Tigers in my den and felt like I needed to institute a technique I was excited to see used in my children’s classrooms – LAPBOOKS! I’ll admit that, in hindsight, this one was more labor-intensive than I thought it would be, but the good news here and now is that I’ve already done a lot of the work for you. You’re welcome! 🙂
I love a good lapbook. A self-contained, single-subject, colorful, fun, book that helps the littles learn something important without sitting through a lecture? This is a win! Remember, these lords and ladies are coming to us for fun, and sometimes that requires a little extra elbow grease on our part. The list below over simplifies what really does turn out to be a test of your crafting supplies, especially if you have a den as large as mine. I can tell you, for instance, that I’ve never been more grateful for my Cricut Portable Trimmer.
- Pick up some manila folders (I used the Amazon Basics File Folders), construction paper or leftover scrapbooking paper, and a few glue sticks
- Print these “Bobcat Trail Lapbook Materials“, which will make 1 lapbook
- Check out the “Bobcat Trail Lapbook Setup” guide
- Assemble your lapbooks and let your Scouts take them home to study for their Bobcat (everything is black and white so they can color it in the way they’d like)
Utilize your meeting gathering time by printing Journey to Bobcat Coloring Pages and supplying your den with some crayons or markers! You can also use that time to play a fun game, like this Bobcat Rank Relay Race, that gets them up and moving or make a fun Craft Stick Oath and Law puzzle that gets them thinking. That free gathering time can become an opportunity to learn rather than run around.
Log your dens progress as you go! It’s so important that you get into the habit of giving timely credit where it’s due. I created a Bobcat Rank Tracker that you can print and keep in your Leadership Binder to ensure you’re on top of their Bobcat progress.
Is your Pack utilizing the free ScoutBook service? If so, make sure you are entering Scout Advancement into the system after every meeting. Nothing’s worse than forgetting who earned what because you waited a day or two to update your records.
Present your Cub Scouts with their rank patches and adventure loops in a fun, creative way! There are a million resources out there to help get your creative juices flowing. One thing you’ll learn right away is that a Scout really is Thrifty, and that you’re about to be on a first name basis with the checkout team at your local Dollar Store.
I’ve started a collection of ideas on my Scouting – Award Presentation Pinterest Board.
You’ll have your little gang of Bobcats moving up the ranks in no time. Did this post help you? What tips do you have for earning Bobcat?
Here are the products I personally used and recommend for the projects in this post:
Amazon Basics File Folders – I bought a single box and it’s served my den of now 19! Scouts Tiger year through now, the beginning of our AOL year. A Scout is thrifty and these are sturdy folders that you’ll find uses for throughout your Cub Career.
Cricut Portable Trimmer – lightweight and easy to use. If you need to cut heavier stock paper or more than 3 or so pieces of normal printer paper, it’s not the right tool, but I’ve used it countless times over the years for projects like this one, recruitment boards, handouts, decorations, and much more.
Plus Staple-Free Stapler – staples up to 5 sheets of regular copy paper. I LOVE THIS STAPLER!
Jumbo Wood Craft Sticks – 500 jumbo craft sticks that you will use throughout your Cub Career.